The US has Already Lost

I shouldn’t have to say it, but there’s still a large number of people in the US who fail to understand that the US has already lost in Iraq. Now that I’m back commenting on The Politburo Diktat, I’m realizing that shutting myself in a bubble of people who realize that the US is in for defeat isn’t productive.

So now that Yorkshire is calling the Democrats terrorists on Common Sense Political Thought, let me make a few things clear.

1. The US won the war almost four years ago; what this is about is winning the peace. And at that, it has had a consistently bad track record.

2. When Scott Ritter and Molly Ivins predicted what would happen almost to a t while Thomas Friedman has been reduced to perpetually claiming that victory is six months away and even the Bush administration is looking for another country to bomb, maybe it’s time to listen to the Ritters more and to the Friedmans less.

3. Bush said “You did not vote for failure.” He was right; the people who voted Democratic didn’t vote for failure, but for the recognition of failure.

4. You can spin the House resolution as giving aid to the terrorists. Equally well, you can spin it as telling the terrorists, “For four years, you enjoyed fighting an incompetent enemy that didn’t know when to quit. Now there’s a new sheriff in town, one that knows exactly where to hit you.”

5. Going by the 2006 Lancet study, 4/7 of violent deaths in post-invasion Iraq for which the perpetrator is known are caused by the coalition. Going by the figure of 600,000 excess deaths, this means 340,000 coalition-caused deaths in the first 40 months of occupation, or 8,500 Iraqis killed every month the US stays. Restricting to data from the last 13 months of the survey, we get 11,500 killed by the coalition every month. Even when ignoring deaths for which the perpetrator is unknown, we get an occupation-wide average of 4,500 and a last-year average of 6,500 per month. If you need to kill the entire civilian population off, you’re not winning the peace.

45 Responses to The US has Already Lost

  1. Ruchira Paul says:

    Dear Alon:
    You seem to suffer from the optimism of the young. I have little hope that the Dems are going to stand up for anything much (see Hillary’s bipolar position on the Iraq vote and the war now). And as far as Iran is concerned, the whole nervous bunch in and out of Congress, will fall over its own collective left feet to authorize another criminal pre-emptive strike (all of them – Clinton, Obama, Edwards and the usual suspects in the House and Senate). Especially, if Bush-Cheney whisper in their ears that this time it will be a neat and clean operation – without putting troops on the ground. Add Tehran and Isfahan to Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

    The House resolution was okay but the Senate was unable to muster its forces. While the media pundits were waxing eloquent about the symbolism of the non-binding resolution on Iraq and its shame factor, I bet Bush-Cheney, who don’t DO shame, were smirking. Heck, this duo thinks that the 2006 elections were non-binding!

  2. Alon Levy says:

    And as far as Iran is concerned, the whole nervous bunch in and out of Congress, will fall over its own collective left feet to authorize another criminal pre-emptive strike (all of them – Clinton, Obama, Edwards and the usual suspects in the House and Senate).

    Oh, of course they will. That’s why I think the non-binding resolution about Iraq was a good first step; it provides the media with the necessary soundbites to make them pass something that has teeth. Pelosi may not have the nerve to cosponsor Feingold’s fund-choking bill, but if conservatives call her bluff and mockingly tell her to do something more substantial, she just might. Iran is something completely different; so far I’m naively hoping Obama will turn out to be decent on it, but part of me knows better.

  3. SLC says:

    The problem is that Iran is so unpopular in the US because of the hostage crisis, particularly because there is some credible evidence that whackjob Amadinejad was one of the hostage takers, that most Congresspersons will be reluctant to oppose a bombing campaign against it. Now Mr. Levy will, of course, dismiss the attached link because he doesn’t like Danial Pipes. However, he is not the only one calling attention to this theory.

  4. rod. says:

    Unfortunately (for the US), you are totally right, Alon.

    They say that every nation has the government it deserves. Unfortunately this is also quite right.

  5. Axel says:

    Yes, there’s still a large number of people – one of them emailed me very angrily a link to Donald Stoker’s article “Insurgencies Rarely Win – And Iraq Won’t Be Any Different (Maybe)”.

    Back to reality. The New York Times published an article about the pre-war invasion plan “Polo Step”. Thanks to the FOIA, the slide show for briefings during 2002 for President Bush, the NSC, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the JCS, and Gen. Franks’ commanders is now publicly available via the National Security Archive website. Just one goody: Military planners assumed that by 2007 as few as 5,000 (!) U.S. troops would be in Iraq.

    How was this possible? Group think, incompetence or loss of reality? I don’t get it.

    Interestingly, in late April 1999, the CENTCOM led by Marine General Anthony Zinni conducted a series of war games known as “Desert Crossing” in order to assess potential outcomes of an invasion of Iraq. The results drew pessimistic conclusions regarding the immediate possible outcomes, e.g. regional instability by opening the doors to “rival forces bidding for power” which, in turn, could cause societal “fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines” and antagonize “aggressive neighbors”. Therefore, a force of 400,000 (!) soldiers was called. The documents are also available via the National Security Archive webside. According to Zinni, his report had been completely forgotten only a few years later.

  6. Dana says:

    I have to wonder: if you believe that the war is already lost, why aren’t you extremely upset that all the Democrats are doing is a non-binding resolution?

    After all, if the war is lost, then every day we stay there is another unnecessary death for American soldiers, right? Yet I don’t see the Democrats cutting off funds, I don’t see the Democrats crafting measures that would force an immediate withdrawal?

    At the very least, the Democrats could refuse to appropriate another dime for Iraq, and President Bush would have to pull out the troops at the end of the fiscal year; that’s not subject to veto, and the end of the fiscal year is little more than seven months away.

    Instead, they waste their time on non-binding resolutions, which don’t change one thing, but have the psychological effects of demoralizing the troops and encouraging the enemy.

  7. rod. says:

    Dana, the Soldiers that are getting killed are American, not democrats/republicans.

    Politics is very good at turning people against each other and preventing important problems from being solved.

  8. Alon Levy says:

    Dana, I support Feingold here. But I genuinely think the non-binding resolution is a springboard for something more serious. It highlights that there is no political support for the war, which will help Feingold’s bill get enough traction.

    And, for the record, I’d be saying the same thing if the situation were reversed. If political support for the war was high but nobody was brave enough to say the US needed 150,000 more troops, and the Republican-controlled Congress that had won the midterm by promising more troops had put forward a 20,000-troop surge bill, I wouldn’t say it was worthless because the US needed 150,000 troops. I’d oppose it on other grounds, as I’m sure you’d oppose the Democrats if they put the Feingold bill up for a vote, but I wouldn’t use the “They’re not serious unless they jump in head first” argument.

  9. Ruchira Paul says:

    Here is the lone sane voice from the Lone Star State (and pretty much anywhere else in the US) on this issue.

    The constant dire warning about funding cut vs troop support is a spurious argument and a political Catch 22. We need to cut through the fog of circular rhetoric. Obviously if the war is de-funded, there would be no soldiers in Iraq facing the danger of the de-funding- they will all be back home!

  10. Phil says:

    Since Bush cannot or will not define ‘winning in Iraq’ (or define anything else for that matter), there is no way he can lose. Now that is a winning strategy!

  11. Question for Moonbats: What happens if y’all get your way?

    In honor of LA’s “Question for Wingnuts” series, I ask this “Question for Moonbats:” if the Democrats force a rapid pullout from Iraq, what do you believe will happen?

  12. Phil says:

    Americans won’t be killed.

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